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Okwerdz: Kung Fu Hustle

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    What happens when one of the hottest battle MCs gets possessed by his fascination with Jackie Chan? You get The Rush Hour Mixtape. Based out of the dusty, hot, crime-ridden streets of Stockton California, lives a rapper by the name of Okwerdz. He is a pioneer within the West Coast battle scene. Okwerdz has ripped ciphers and stages from New York to Los Angeles to Australia . Kung-Fu films have had a huge impact on every element of Hip-Hop. Some say it’s the competitive spirit that the films showcase. Others say it’s the Eastern Philosophy embedded into the films that have the greatest impact. But most believe that watching someone deliver a well-planned butt-kicking soothes the soul. For Okwerdz, the release of Rush Hour 3 had to meet with a new mixtape. AllHipHop.com sat down with the mastermind behind The Rush Hour Mixtape, his love for Jackie Chan and why he likes Jackie over Bruce or Jet Li.  AllHipHop.com : For those who don’t know tell them who Okwerdz is.Okwerdz: I always hate this question. [Laughs] Long story short, [I’m a] former MC battle-champion from Stockton California, been doin’ my thing for about eight years. Worked with cats like E-40, Kool G Rap, Mistah F.A.B., DJ Green Lantern, Tech N9ne, Rahzel, Capadonna, Casual, Sean Price.AllHipHop.com: What was the first martial arts movie you ever saw?Okwerdz: To be honest I really couldn’t even tell you. I grew up watchin’ all the obvious stuff that came from America…All your Steven Segal, Chuck Norris, Enter The Dragon type stuff. I got interested in more, and I started watching the Hong Kong films with my uncle Randy when I was little. He thought Chuck Norris could beat up Bruce Lee.AllHipHop.com: What was the first Jackie Chan film you ever watched?Okwerdz: I believe it was Police Story when I was real little. But what really sparked my interested was when I first saw Rumble in the Bronx. I was completely blown the f**k away. Then my mother took me to Chinatown in San Francisco for my birthday one year. I just bought every Jackie Chan movie I could find. I kept ordering them all through like sixth and eithh grade till I had ‘em all.AllHipHop.com: How many Jackie Chan films have you seen?Okwerdz: I own something like 50 or 70 Jackie Chan movies- dubbed, subtitled, VHS, DVD, VCD, etc.AllHipHop.com: Why do you think you like Jackie more than Bruce or Jet Li?Okwerdz: I mean they are all extremely talented. But from a film standpoint, Jackie Chan is just a lot more fun/interesting/creative to watch. In my opinion, he’s one of the best fight choreographers in the world. Bruce Lee movies are a bit far-fetched for me, that one man can beat up so many people without gettin’ even touched. He still has time to sit there and make crazy noises after each move. There still fun to watch though; Return of the Dragon is amazing. As far as Jet Li goes, I don’t like too many special effects and wires and flying around and whatnot, Jackie’s films are more real.AllHipHop.com: What gave you the idea for the mixtape?Okwerdz: As in most Hip-Hop records these days, we’ve had some delays in getting out my next mixtape The Off-Season. So I kinda juts needed somethin’ to keep me busy, and I’d always wanted to do somethin’ Jackie Chan-oriented. I’m such a big fan I just never knew what, then it hit me. After that, I just tried to think of a producer down to get his hands dirty to make some low quality kung fu s**t. My homie The Wrist just popped in my head and we went from there.AllHipHop.com: How hard was it to put this together lyrically?Okwerdz: Lyrically, it’s the easiest project I’ve ever written. I’ve spent like no more than 5 or 7 minutes on each verse. All the Jackie Chan references just leaked out of me, combined with a whole lot of swagger. I just breezed through the whole thing. For those that are familiar with my work its a bit more unorthodox as far as rhyme patterns and what not go I just kinda let personality take over on this one and had fun with it.AllHipHop.com: If you knew Jackie would hear this mixtape, what would you want him to feel from it?Okwerdz: Well I dunno if he’s into Hip-Hop at all or anything. But I’d hope he’d be able to appreciate it for what it is, and not get mad that we sampled all his s**t to make a record. ‘Cause he’s the last cat I want pissed off at me, believe me. It’d be nice if he felt it and I could write a song for one of his next movies…eh?AllHipHop.com: What’s up with the next LP?Okwerdz: I’m slowly working on it, thus far I have like 12 beats for it from Domingo, Bosko, M-Phazes, and E-40 and Kool G Rap were kind enough to bless me with some ridiculous verses. Also, I just finished the new mixtape coming out before the album entitled The Off-Season…20 tracks or so all on original beats; the s**t is ridiculous and by far the best music I’ve ever made thus far in my life.AllHipJop.com: There are so many Jackie Chan fans out there…The potential for this is just amazing. What are your thoughts?Okwerdz: Honestly, when I first started writing it I didn’t think much of it I was just passin’ time with a passion project. But a lot of people are taking it a lot more seriously than I planned. I’m not quite sure what’s gonna happen with it from here but I’m definitely excited about it.AllHipHop.com: I know you’re a really big Jackie Chan fan. But which movies aren’t you feeling? Tell the truth, ‘cause Shanghai Knights sucked.Okwerdz: This is a great question. I actually don’t care too much for the American films Jackie has been in, and none of it is his fault. He’s been great in them all. What I don’t like is how American films shoot their fight scenes…The camera angles are always bad and they just need to take some advice from Hong Kong films. On top of that, they won’t let Jackie do crazy stunts due to big budget insurance crap. So they use a lot of wire and blue screen s**t which kinda takes the fun out of a Jackie Chan movie…But hey, he’s gettin paid and I’m glad he’s gettin’ a lot of exposure in America, so I’ll continue to support.AllHipHop.com: Any last words?Okwerdz: Yeah, if you can’t relate to this record- don’t judge me on it. Make sure you go pick up a more serious CD of mine to get the full feel for what I do. I just wanna make sure that its really known to the public that this record is jus me havin’ fun and messin’ around. I do things on all sides of the spectrum so check me out.Adisa Banjoko is cofounder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation.

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